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Hawaii looks to ban coral-damaging sunscreens

Hawaii looks to ban coral-damaging sunscreens

Hawaii could become the first US state to ban sunscreen products containing toxic chemicals unsafe to coral reefs and ocean life. The sunscreen products has chemicals like Oxybenzone and octinoxate which kill the coral reef.

That's why the state is moving to ban the sale of sunscreen mixes containing these two compounds, becoming the first U.S. state to do so.

The chemicals found in sunscreens are widely believed to be partly responsible for the damage inflicted on the world's coral reefs and other forms of marine life.

The bill, if signed into law by the state's governor, David Ige, will make Hawaii the first US state to enact such a ban starting January 1, 2021. The same compounds also disrupt the normal development of simple marine organisms (like algae or sea urchins) as well as more complex creatures (like fish).

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One past study (published in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2015) has shown that both oxybenzone and octinoxate break down coral reefs by leeching its vital nutrients. Scientists say it's mostly due to rising ocean temperatures, but new evidence suggests certain types of sunscreens are making it even worse in popular tourist areas. "So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens".

"A ban on these sunscreens in Hawaii - the state with the highest daily UV index warnings and very high rates of skin cancer and melanoma - would be a public health disaster".

While oxybenzone and octinoxate are prevalent in most sunscreens, there are alternative products that use safer ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide.


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